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A Houston/Harris County Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative

September 26, 2013 / Issue XVIII 

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Contact Us

Community/Stakeholder Engagement Team

Susan Lackey, MPH
Gracey Malacara
Jennifer Mineo, DrPH


2525 Robinhood St.,

Suite 1100

Houston, TX 77005


fax: 281.953.7477



forumSave the Date
HLM Community Forums

Precinct 1 Forum
Finnigan Park
Community Center
4900 Providence Street
Houston, TX 77020
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Dinner served at 5:00pm
*Additional gift cards will be raffled at the forum

Keep a look out for information about HLM's upcoming Community Forum in
Precinct 3.

Join your neighbors in learning what Healthy Living Matters has heard from your community. Participate in small group conversations and provide feedback on ways to improve the health of our children through policy change. Together, we can make a difference in our children's lives!

$20 gift cards are available for the first 100 attendees

RSVP for the Community Forums at or 281.953.7451 with your name and organization 


highlightLocal Activity Highlight

Houston Food Bank Social Services Outreach Program opening a storefront at Joe V's Smart Shop, 5609 Uvalde Rd, Houston, TX 77049 to provide access and assistance applying for social services and other resources. Hoping to provide more convenience, this is the first resource center outside of the Houston Food Bank's main facility.

resourceFeatured Resources - Webinar     


Leadership for Healthy Communities is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focused on supporting local and state government leaders across the country in their efforts to address childhood obesity through policy. They promote policies that support active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods with the greatest chance of creating sustainable opportunities to curb childhood obesity.


Leadership for Healthy Communities is hosting a webinar that will explore successful strategies local governments can use to engage multicultural communities in the effort to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. Experts will share best practices and examples of policy initiatives to empower diverse communities in fighting childhood obesity.


Multicultural Community Engagement: Putting Childhood Obesity Prevention Strategies to Work in Diverse Communities

Wednesday, October 2nd at 1:00pm CST 

Register Here 


Presenters include:

  • Ruben Brambila, M.P.H., Project Manager, Healthy RC Kids, City of Rancho Cucamonga
  • Dr. Jasmine Opusunju, Program Coordinator, CAN DO Houston
  • Pedro Arista, STRIVE/REACH Program Manager, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
conference Safe Routes to School 2013 Conference 

Sacramento, California  



In August, Healthy Living Matters sponsored the trips for four HLM Youth Ambassadors from the Youth Police Advisory Council and Wheatley High School to the Safe Routes to Schools National Conference in Sacramento, California. The students, along with their chaperones, attended conference sessions and learned how policies and programs help students to ride and walk to school safely. During the conference, Youth Ambassadors had the opportunity to participate in several bike rides, including the "Kidical Mass" ride to the California State Capitol and a farmers' market. Following their experiences at the conference, students were inspired to make healthy changes where they learn and live.


Here's what the Youth Ambassadors had to say about their trip to Sacramento:


"What really caught my attention was the bike field trip! Students took a 4-mile trip to a park where they engaged in a service learning project. This field trip encourages healthy living and community responsibility. My school would LOVE to do such a thing!" 

 -- Caitlyn, Youth Police Advisory Council


"The last day was the best and by far my favorite. I liked it because of the interaction, the speakers and my group. We went outside and in a way that is educational but fun. We learned the DO's and DON'Ts of street safety." 

 -- Kamien, Wheatley High School


"I want to speak to different schools to spread knowledge and educate middle or high schools on healthy living. I want to spread awareness to schools in Houston in a fun way!"

 -- Vivian, Youth Police Advisory Council

"I came out of the conferences with more ideas on healthy living. Most people rode on bicycles and it was just so neat and organized."

 -- Dominique, Wheatley High School


More insights from HLM Youth Ambassadors can be found on their conference blog. Read more here. 



awardHLM Youth Ambassador is named a Rising Star Award Finalist    


In addition to showing leadership during the Safe Routes conference, HLM Youth Ambassador and Youth Police Advisory Council member Caitlyn Floyd was also recognized as a Finalist for the Rising Star Award by the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. This honor includes a fully-paid trip to Nashville for the Southern Obesity Summit! Caitlyn's understanding that policy can drive healthy changes and her leadership of healthy school programs has raised awareness of childhood obesity and has made steps towards reducing the epidemic. Read more about Caitlyn's award here. 


successHLM Precinct 4 Community Forum was a Success!




On Thursday, September 5, Healthy Living Matters hosted their first community forum at the YMCA training center in Precinct 4. Approximately 100 attendees represented non-profit organizations, law enforcement, public health, and many other sectors in the Houston/Harris County community. YMCA, CEO Clark Baker opened the meeting, followed by a welcome by HLM Executive Committee Chair Dr. Ann Smith Barnes.  


Participants heard results from HLM's assessments and community engagements, including outcomes from the Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI), a series of community conversations and action planning sessions that HLM completed in partnership with the YMCA. During the latter part of the meeting, participants prioritized policy strategies that HLM has proposed to curb childhood obesity in Houston/Harris County. Dr. Barnes and Mr. Baker closed the meeting by empowering the YMCA, other community organization leaders and residents to make healthy changes where children eat, learn and play. 


Read more about the Precinct 4 Community Forum on the YMCA website. 

texasTexas Obesity News 

More needs to be done to fix Houston's 'embarrassing' problem 

Dr. Robert Robbins, president of the Texas Medical Center, said Wednesday more needs to be done to address Houston's health problem.


Houston, we have a problem. An embarrassing one.


We may have a housing market that's on fire while much of the country is still recuperating from the economic downturn and an energy industry that just won't quit, but we're also one of the least healthy cities in the nation.


I was at the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Health Summit and Business Expo Wednesday morning, and Texas Medical Center President Dr. Robert Robbins praised the TMC for its educational facilities and groundbreaking research. But he also called the city's health into question. Full Article

Texas is on a path to 57% obesity by 2030, and that would be costly

WASHINGTON - At the current rate of weight gain, by 2030, 57.2 percent of Texans will be obese. That could lead to 13 million more cases of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure and stroke, arthritis and cancer.


The projections by the Trust for America's Health were released Tuesday in "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012." The state's current obesity rate is 30.4 percent, according to self-reported weight and height measurements gathered in surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


(Because people tend to exaggerate their height and minimize their weight, the actual incidence is thought to be higher. Height and weight determine a person's body mass index, or BMI; a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.)


If Texans could curb their body mass index by 5 percent, they could save $54.2 billion in obesity-related health care costs between now and 2030, the study found. Full Article

Local Doctors Urge Conversation about Obesity

CORPUS CHRISTI - Doctors here in the Coastal Bend acknowledge that a conversation about being obese may be uncomfortable, but say that it's a necessity.


More and more doctors are testing patient's Body Mass Index, or BMI, as a matter of procedure. But for some doctors, it is still a touchy subject.


Dr. Juan Castro knows that not all patients are comfortable hearing that they are overweight, or possibly obese.


But he also knows the sooner he can tell patients that they're putting their health at risk, the better.


"You have to bring it up. Because many times that's the best medication that patients can get." Full Article

Obesity rate holds steady, but Texas still 19th most obese state - what are YOU going to do about it?


The good news is that Texans aren't getting fatter. The bad is that we still have a long way to go.


Yes, even as we were feeling mildly encouraged that childhood obesity rates have been declining in low-income families according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--here's a slap-down reminder that Texas is the 19th most obese state in the nation, with an adult obesity rate of 29.2% according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013. 

The report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation notes that only one state, Arkansas, has increased its obesity rate this year.


In Texas, the Baby Boomers are struggling the most with weight control, with obesity affecting 34.9% of those 45 to 64. That means a whole lot of Texas heading into retirement vulnerable to obesity-related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer. Full Article



nationalNational Obesity News 

Calling Obesity A Disease May Make It Easier To Get Help 

Under the Affordable Care Act, more insurance plans are expected to start covering the cost of obesity treatments, including counseling on diet and exercise as well as medications and surgery. These are treatments that most insurance companies don't cover now.


The move is a response to the increasing number of health advocates and medical groups that say obesity should be classified as a disease.


Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, but this summer, the American Medical Association determined that obesity is a disease . The organization followed in the footsteps of the Obesity Society, a health advocacy group that called obesity a disease back in 2008.


Many overweight or obese individuals are victims of their own genetic history, according to Dr. Lee Kaplan, an obesity specialist and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. "We're all wired in slightly different ways," he says, adding that those subtle differences are reflected in how the body deals with energy stores and fat. Full Article

School Lunch and TV Time Linked With Childhood Obesity 

Among middle-school children, the behaviors most often linked with obesity are school lunch consumption and two hours or more of daily TV viewing, according to a new look at the dramatic increase in childhood obesity.


The findings by the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center will be published in the September issue of Pediatrics.


While some habits were the same for all overweight and obese children, the study found some gender differences in the habits influencing body weight.


Data from 1,714 sixth grade students enrolled in Project Healthy Schools showed girls who drank two servings of milk each day were less likely to be obese, and boys who played on a sports team were also at a healthier weight. Full Article

Heavy burden: Obesity may be even deadlier than thought


CORPUS CHRISTI - Doctors here in the Coastal Bend acknowledge that a conversation about being obese may be uncomfortable, but say that it's a necessity.


More and more doctors are testing patient's Body Mass Index, or BMI, as a matter of procedure. But for some doctors, it is still a touchy subject.


Dr. Juan Castro knows that not all patients are comfortable hearing that they are overweight, or possibly obese.


But he also knows the sooner he can tell patients that they're putting their health at risk, the better.


"You have to bring it up. Because many times that's the best medication that patients can get." Full Article

Eating a Big Breakfast Fights Obesity and Disease


A high-calorie breakfast protects against diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular problems, says TAU researcher.


Whether you hope to lose weight or just stay healthy, what you eat is a crucial factor. The right nutrients can not only trim your waistline, but also provide energy, improve your mood, and stave off disease. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher has found that it's not just what you eat -- but when.


Metabolism is impacted by the body's circadian rhythm -- the biological process that the body follows over a 24 hour cycle. So the time of day we eat can have a big impact on the way our bodies process food, says Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center. In a recent study, she discovered that those who eat their largest daily meal at breakfast are far more likely to lose weight and waist line circumference than those who eat a large dinner. Full Article



The High (and Mostly Hidden) Cost of Obesity


It's no secret that Americans are a bit "fluffy," as comedian Gabriel Iglesias politely puts it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.9 percent of adults age 20 and over are classified as obese -- and another 33.3 percent as overweight.

It's also no secret that these extra pounds can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

When you add it up, billions of dollars are spent every year to treat obesity-related conditions. Estimates range from the oft-cited $147 billion from the CDC to a new Cornell University study published in the Journal of Health Economics that puts the number at $190 billion annually.

On an individual level, the annual medical costs for people who are obese run thousands more than those of normal-weight people -- $1,429 more (in 2006 dollars, according to the CDC) to $2,741 more per individual (in 2005 dollars, according to the Cornell study).

These dollar amounts are startling to consider. But as is often the case, it's the not-so-obvious costs that are even more shocking. Full Article


eventsUpcoming Events

Leadership for Healthy Communities 2013 Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit   

Sunday, September 29-Tuesday, October 1
Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards


How to Work with Schools and School Wellness Policies 101: AFHK Parent Leadership Series

Tuesday, October 1, 3:00pm-4:00pm CST



The Affordable Care Act: Understanding and Implementing Its Requirements
Tuesday, October 8, 8:30am-12:00pm
DePelchin Children's Center 4950 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77007
For questions, please email  


National School Lunch Week

October 14-18

More Information 


Integrated Health Care: From Concept to Practice

Thursday, October 17, 1:00pm-4:30pm

The Montrose Center

401 Branard St, Houston TX, 77006

More Information 


Building a Wellness Team, Assessing your School's Wellness Environment & Developing an Action Plan: AFHK Parent Leadership Series

Thursday, October 17, 2:00pm-3:15pm CST